Africa today faces an enormous developmental challenge. In the first place, she has not been able to reconstruct her societies in a manner that can empower her people to realise their human potentials in any significant manner. Secondly, she has failed to achieve the kind of cultural rebirth that can ensure that her encounter with other cultures is one of mutual enrichment rather than one of unequal exchange, which is currently the situation. In other words, Africa today is not only confronted with the problem of dwindling opportunities for social development and self-fulfilment. She is also faced with a serious problem of cultural dislocation, involving a loss of capacity for deliberate, self-initiated change.
In general, Africa has fallen behind in the developmental process. Hence the socio-cultural situation in Africa today is largely one of risk – particularly the risk of “humiliation, loss of status, poverty” as a result of continous underdevelopment and social decay – and anxiety about the possibility of Africa ever being able to evolve an industrial civilisation, which would enable her encounter with other societies, particularly the advanced industrial societies, is one of partnership rather than one of dependence and exploitation.
Extract from African Culture and Technology Change by Prof. Olusegun Oladipo (University of Ibadan)